Bob Wilkins with his trademark yellow rocking chair and House of Winsor Cigar.
Creature Features fans could always count on a parade unusual guests.
Bob’s wife, Sally, joked they would be “instantly divorced” if Bob ever appeared in public in his Captain Cosmic costume.
Bob Wilkins had a two year stint doing
the weather on KTVU, channel 2.
Bob talks with Creature Features producer Bob Shaw. Shaw's involvement with the show evolved from a letter-writting fan, to paid advisor, to full fledged producer. He later became KTVU's film critic.
Bob interviews author and film expert, John Stanley. Stanley took over hosting Creature Features after Bob retired.
“Don't stay up late, it's not worth it," Bob Wilkins warned as he leaned back in his yellow rocking chair, smoke wafting from his big cigar. But monster movie fans in Northern California stayed up with him every Saturday night anyway. Creature Features made it's debut on Channel 2 (KTVU) in 1971, and was an immediate success with it's grade-Z horror films and Bob's dry sense of humor. His cool, low-key deadpan helped him rise above it all, elevating films like The Navy Vs. The Night Monsters as well.
Bob once remarked, "We kicked off this show with Horror of Party Beach, and we knew we had our work cut out for us that night . . . and it seems it's been that way every Saturday night."
Actually, many of the films were pretty good, and his guests were even better: Ray Harryhausen, Christopher Lee, William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, John Landis, William Marshall, Forest J Ackerman and . . . well, too many to list. You never knew who (or what) you'd see next on Creature Features. There was an endless parade of the weird: People who claimed to be witches and martians, inventors who built robots, a woman who knitted a sweater for King Kong, local filmmakers who showed bizzare TV commercial take-offs.
Once, Bob received a phone call from a man claiming to be a vampire. When he asked if he could be a guest, Bob said "Sure, can you come down to the studio at two o'clock tomorrow afternoon?" When the caller said yes, he could, Bob replied, "If you're a vampire, how is it you can be there at 2 p.m.?" There was a pause, then 'click'. The vampire hung up.
The show quickly expanded to a double feature format and Bob even joined the Channel 2 eleven o'clock news as the weatherman. All of this while he continued his weekly show in Sacramento (on KXTL Channel 40). After two years though, he decided that reporting the weather wasn't for him, and Pat (Dialing for Dollars) McCormick took over.
In 1977, Bob went incognito for Captain Cosmic, a half hour kid's show specializing in Japanese sci-fi. "I was disguised," Bob said, "I had a cape on and a helmet that covered my face, so you couldn't tell who I was. But of course, by the voice people knew it was me. The younger kids didn't know who it was because they couldn't stay up late at night and watch the horror movies." With his trusty sidekick, Robot 2T2, Captain Cosmic made the galaxy safe for kids every afternoon at 4:30. After 2 years, Bob Wilkins grew tired of the show, and he was tired of Creature Features as well.
Keep in mind, Bob not only wrote and produced the shows, he also lined up the guests, answered the fan mail, and made public appearances. So in 1978, when the demands of doing two shows in Oakland and one in Sacramento got to be too much, Bob left Channel 2. (But really, how many times can you suffer through a double bill of Billy the Kid Vs. Dracula and Jesse James Meets Frankentein's Daughter anyway?) Bob's replacement on Creature Features was John Stanley, frequent guest.and author of "The Creature Feature Movie Guide"
Luckily, for Sacramento viewers Bob continued his Saturday night show on Channel 40 until 1982.
- Mick Martin
Super-rare 45 record of the Creature Features theme by Beauregarde and the Poppers. The B-side was "Myra Vampira," and, according to Bob, was the "first Country and Western vampire song."
A Thanksgiving weekend TV Guide ad for Creature Features.